According to Hewlett-Packard, the company pumps billions of dollars annually in its research and development projects. This fact is used to justify high prices for ink. One gallon of OEM black pigment costs around $2,700, which makes it one of the most expensive liquids on earth. If you are a savvy shopper, you are probably looking for ways to save on printer ink. We’ve got you covered!
Compatible cartridges cost up to 70% less. If you can save a few dozen dollars per purchase, imagine what the annual difference is like! Yet, many consumers are still skeptical about the quality and reliability of such alternative products. Should you chase these bargains or stick to expensive cartridges from your printer brand? It is time to debunk persistent misconceptions.
1. Quality Is Worse
A cheaper product does not have to be inferior. Brands behind compatible cartridges comply with stringent requirements of international regulators. They sell certified products with such quality marks as ISO, Reach, and STMC. When you buy the hp 933xl pack from Smart Ink, you can be sure it will perform as well as its original counterpart. If in doubt, check customer feedback on Trustpilot.
2. Compatible Cartridges Are Dangerous
Many consumers fear that a cheaper cartridge will damage their printer. By shopping on reliable sites, you will avoid substandard products. Cartridges from trusted brands will fit your printer perfectly. In case of any problems, the brand’s customer support will be at your beck and call.
Some of the most dangerous things you can do include DIY refills and incorrect installation. If you inject the wrong amount of ink, your cartridge will leak inside the machine, damaging its print head. Unfortunately, the risk of damage is just too high. Do not attempt to revamp an old cartridge — buy a remanufactured one instead!
Replacing the cartridge is not exactly a no-brainer. You must be careful to avoid touching the chip and the copper-colored contacts — these electronic elements are highly sensitive. Make sure the color of the cartridge matches the marking on the slot. A few simple precautions will guarantee hassle-free operation!
3. Compatible Cartridges Are Illegal
In the past, printer manufacturers sued their independent competitors, but this did not bring any results. A compatible cartridge is a legal original product. It is designed and assembled from scratch, and the fact that it fits a specific printer does not make it counterfeit. Third-party brands do not copy OEM cartridges, they only loosely imitate them.
4. You Will Lose Your Printer Warranty
Every consumer has a right to install original or none original cartridges. Thanks to anti-monopoly legislation around the world, manufacturers may not punish you for saving money. Their warnings are merely recommendations. Voiding a warranty because of compatible ink is illegal.
All printer brands can do is release adverse firmware updates. They program their equipment to detect and reject non-original supplies. However, producers of cheaper products also keep their chips updated. You can also turn off all firmware updates and use any supplies you like.
5. Compatible Cartridges Are Less Sustainable
Big brands pride themselves on sustainable practices and products. This does not mean a compatible cartridge is not recyclable. What’s more, many stores emphasize eco-friendly policies. Some of them also sell remanufactured products alongside compatible supplies.
Remanufacturing includes cleaning, revamping, and refilling. Used OEM cartridges are collected, refurbished, and brought back to life. They offer an eco-friendly option that also costs less than brand-new supplies.
If the idea of using a second-hand cartridge does not appeal to you, quality marks could change your opinion. Remanufactured cartridges come with the same certificates as their compatible counterparts. Typically, you will see references to the ISO standard, CE, STMC, etc.
Where to Shop
The sheer range of compatible and remanufactured products is astonishing. There is a cheaper cartridge for any popular model. The only exception is brand-new machines — independent friends and needs time to develop their own solutions.
You can buy a cartridge in an online marketplace like Amazon or in the manufacturer’s store. Brands like Smart Ink offer additional incentives and rewards to retain customers, such as:
- Discounts for shopping in bulk
- Free shipping
- Seasonal discounts
Not every store is trustworthy, so do a bit of due diligence. Compare ratings on different feedback platforms, check the quality of customer service, etc. Here are six things you should expect from a reputable supplier:
- Certified quality of all products, including remanufactured (ISO and other standards)
- 2-year warranty covering defects and transportation damage
- The latest version of the chip on each product
- Ink level tracking (some cartridges will notify you when the ink starts running out)
- 24/7 support by phone, email, social media, etc.
- Sustainable products (recyclable or recycled)
Before placing your first order, try calling or messaging the company to see how quickly it will respond. The best brands are customer-centric. They are also responsive to feedback, both positive and negative. If you see that customers’ complaints are left unanswered, look for another provider.
Save More by Printing Smartly
Buying cheaper ink is not the only way to bring down your costs in the long run. In addition, reconsider your printing habits. Here are a few tricks:
- Print browser pages in Reader mode to remove all ads and redundant images.
- When printing drops, switch to the economical Draft mode (you can find it via the printer settings).
- Do not print documents unless you absolutely have to — read them on your tablet, e-reader, or smartphone.
- Instead of Arial, choose fonts like Courier, Calibri, or Century Gothic. They use 27% less ink on average.
- If your printer will be idle for a long time, print a page every two weeks to prevent ink from drying.
To Sum Up
By switching to compatible supplies and changing your printing habits, you can save hundreds of pounds per year. Finding a store requires a bit of work, but a reputable brand will bring lasting benefits. You do not have to pay for expensive OEM ink — shop smartly!